NXT returned to us last night (May 15) with their first episode of the most recent set of taping. You can find the results at the live blog here.
The Viking Raiders open the show and invite William Regal to the ring. They tell him they relinquish the titles since no one can beat them for those straps. Before Regal can say anything, the Street Profits interrupt.
Montez Ford reminds the Raiders they brought the fight to them weeks back. While they lost, everyone realized then the Street Profits can beat the Viking Raiders, if that is their real name. The Raiders take the titles back from Regal and demand he make the match. Regal makes it so.
This may be one the first time we’ve ever seen the Street Profits cut a promo in this environment. They’ve done plenty of their pre-taped street promos, but it’s not two teams in a ring like this.
Turns out, they are really good at it. Well, Montez Ford is really good at it as he did most of the talking. However, Angelo Dawkins one line was a killer, making fun of the Raider’s name change.
I was skeptical of setting up the Profits as the possible team to dethrone the Raiders given they just lost to them. But creative and Ford convinced me otherwise. The reasoning was sound. “We didn’t beat you, but we came damn close.” Coupled with the passion that Montez delivered it with, it worked.
The mini-swerve about giving up their titles was nice. Relinquishing the titles was a possibility, but at the same time, kind of a heel move, meaning the Raiders were leaning into their Raw alignment. It helped the Profits look better for goading them into changing their mind.
Cathy Kelley interviews Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish, asking about Roddy in the Undisputed ERA. Cole says he doesn’t know where Roddy is but strongly makes it known that he’s the leader. Roderick Strong interrupts and tells Cole they are stronger together. He hands Cole a flipflop and tells him his Matt Riddle problem is dealt with.
Another interesting turn in the Undisputed story. During the early part of this interview, there were people running towards something in the background, which must have been the presumably injured Matt Riddle.
It’s not done here by any long shot. That’s just not how wrestling, or most storytelling, works. So is Roddy playing Cole? Is this just a temporary alliance until something new messes things up? I look forward to finding out.
Keith Lee def. Cezar Bononi
Good to see Keith Lee back from injury so he can continue to find his spot in NXT.
The crowd seems to love Lee, or at least chanting “Bask in his glory,” but that’s either because they know him from his previous work or have seen him work house shows. Because just on TV, he hasn’t found a way to stand out outside being an athletic big guy.
That being said, he hasn’t had the opportunity to yet. He had that brief issue with Kassius Ohno, but that was really part of Matt Riddle’s story.
It looked like it was about to happen with his doomed Dijakovic feud, but alas, that wasn’t meant to be. NXT will need to find something to replace that for the Limitless One to give him a chance to really connect with the audience.
KUSHIDA def. Kona Reeves as Drew Gulak watches along from the stage
Just Drew Gulak walking on stage to watch KUSHIDA had me excited.
Gulak is great, and I’ve wanted to see him in NXT since he had that fantastic match with Matt Riddle months back. Using him as the next challenge for KUSHIDA is a great move. Now doubt Gulak will give NXT’s newest addition a strong match.
Reeves has slotted into a jobber to the stars role. While it’s not where he wants to be, it’s not the worst role. He’s got a character and he’s good in the ring. Tye Dillinger made that role work. If Reeves can be a strong opponent for a bunch of new talent, maybe he can too.
Backstage, Mia Yim tells Bianca Belair that Regal granted her a rematch.
I’m glad to see that last week’s dirty win for Belair wasn’t just a one-off. Mia and Bianca had a good match, and there’s plenty they can do with these two, whether it be a long feud or a partnership.
Johnny Gargano is looking after Matt Riddle backstage. Johnny says the Bro is angry and that’s a problem for Roddy. As for Adam Cole, Johnny already requested he get to face him again at TakeOver.
What are you doing Johnny? Why would you request to face Cole again, especially with the ERA back together? This man is either Sting dumb or has some grand plan.
There are weeks to go, but right now, this feels like the Undisputed ERA’s story and Johnny is just a supporting character in it.
Vanessa Borne def. Jessie
This was a very solid outing for the more developmental match of the week.
Vanessa Borne continues to impress me. She has a very high ceiling, as her ring work has been good while not losing the cocky attitude of her character.
Jessie hasn’t had many (if any) NXT matches. The thing that stuck out the most was how tall she is. She’s 5’10”, which is Charlotte tall. That makes it tougher for her to play the babyface in peril given all her antagonists are going to be smaller than her. (Borne gave up half a foot to her.) Which is unfortunate because Jessie’s demeanor and look is one of a natural babyface.
It wasn’t a huge problem in this match. She still sold well for Borne, which was most of the match for her. They’re just going to need consistently aggressive heels to get us to believe she is always in trouble despite being the larger competitor.
The War Raiders vs. the Street Profits ends in a DQ when the Forgotten Sons attack the Raiders. The BritAm Brawlers join the fray and this turns into a huge brawl.
This finish was pretty much choreographed when they showed us the Sons backstage upset the Street Profits “stole” their title shot. It still made sense when it could have been super random.
The Raiders and the Forgotten Sons have their issues from last week when the Sons ambushed the tag champs. And the Sons were just coming off issues with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. So it all fits.
Yes, it’s disappointing to end a title match with a smoz finish, even when you could predict it coming a mile away. At least this should set up a fun fatal 4-way in Bridgeport.
The brief title match we did get was very fun. The Profits have raised their stock mightily the last month and looked incredible in this short time. Plus, with the knowledge that the Raiders are going to have to drop those tag straps soon, it was easier to bite into the nearfalls of the bout.
Erik and Ivar will be leaving the yellow brand sooner than later, but hopefully they can help elevate whichever duo ends up taking the straps from them.
NXT was enjoyable as always, but there was a lot of inessential stuff, making this one of the more skippable episodes.
Sound off below.